SPOTLIGHT COUNTRY OF THE WEEK: GHANA
Written by Special Delivery Show on 12/03/2021
Welcome to the Special Delivery Show Blog! This is where we will be providing insight into the world of music and culture from the motherland of Africa!
We have added a new segment to our show titled SPOTLIGHT COUNTRY OF THE WEEK where each week, we choose a country in Africa, find out a little bit about them and their musical culture, and of course we play music from that country as our way of paying homage to them.
Our SPOTLIGHT COUNTRY this week is GHANA!
Ghana formerly known as Gold Coast celebrated 64 years of independence on 6TH March 2021. Ghana is the first country of sub-Saharan to gain independence in 1957 from British colonials this was led by Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and the Big Six which consists of Ebenezer Ako-Adjei, Edward Akuffo-Addo, Joseph Boakye Danquah, Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey, William Ofori Atta. (The founding members of Ghana) Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was the first prime minister/ president of Ghana.
In honour of Ghana Independence, here’s 7 thing you should know about Ghana. Why 7 things? Because 7 is perfection.
- The Big Six are the faces you see on the Ghana Cedi. These men are known as the founding fathers of Ghana; These are the men who laid Ghana to independence and Ghana’s current president H.E. Nana Akuffo-Addo grandfather is one of the BIG SIX.
- Ghana means “Warrior King”. The colours of the Ghana flag are the traditional Pan African colours red, yellow, and green. The red symbolises the bloodshed and struggles for independence. The yellow/gold is a symbol of the country’s mineral wealth whereas green is a symbol of the country’s forests and natural wealth. At the center of the flag is a black five-pointed star. This is a symbol of African Emancipation.
- Ghana was the centre of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
- Kente originates from Ghana, its history is from Bonwire; a Ghanaian village where they produce the cloth. Kente has been in existence for about 378 years now. In recent years, Kente has turned into an iconic symbol for the Black race across the world.
- Asantehene is the only and most powerful king in Ghana.
- Ghana has only had one war which lasted 77 years from 1823 – 1900. This was the Anglo- Ashanti War.
- Ghanaians give children names based on the day they were born; this is mostly popular in the Akan tribes such as Ashanti and Fante.
The music of Ghana is diverse and varies between different ethnic groups and regions. Ghanaian music incorporates several distinct types of musical instruments such as the talking drum ensembles, Akan Drum, goje fiddle and koloko lute, court music, including the Akan Seperewa, the Akan atumpan, the Ga kpanlogo styles, and log xylophones used in asonko music.
There are many styles of traditional and modern music of Ghana, due to Ghana’s cosmopolitan geographic position on the African continent. The best-known modern genre originating in Ghana is Highlife. For many years, Highlife was the preferred music genre until the introduction of Hiplife and many others.
Ghanaian dance is as diverse as its music, and there are traditional dances and different dances for different occasions. The most known Ghanaian dances are those for celebrations. These dances include the Adowa, Kpanlogo, Azonto, Klama, Agbadza, Borborbor and Bamaya
The music of Ghana often reflects a Caribbean influence, yet it still retains a flavour all its own. While pan-Ghanaian music had been developed for some time, the middle of the 20th century saw the development of distinctly Ghanaian pop music. High-life incorporated elements of swing, jazz, rock, ska and soukous. To a much lesser extent, Ghanaian musicians found success in the United States and, briefly, the United Kingdom with the surprise success of Osibisa’s Afro-rock in the 1970s.
Dance highlife evolved during World War II, when American jazz and swing became popular with the arrival of servicemen from the United States and United Kingdom. After independence in 1957, the socialist government began encouraging folk music, but highlife remained popular and influences from Trinidadian music. E. T. Mensah was the most influential musician of this period, and his band The Tempos frequently accompanied the president.
The Ghanaian-German community created a form of highlife called Burger-highlife. The most influential early burgher highlife musician was George Darko, whose “Akoo Te Brofo” coined the term and is considered the beginning of the genre. Burgher highlife was extremely popular in Ghana, especially after computer-generated dance beats were added to the mix. The same period saw a Ghanaian community appear in Toronto and elsewhere in Canada. Pat Thomas is probably the most famous Ghanaian-Canadian musician.
By the late 1990s, a new generation of artists discovered the so-called Hiplife. The originator of this style is Reggie Rockstone, a Ghanaian musician who dabbled with hip-hop in the United States before finding his unique style. Hiplife basically was hip-hop in the Ghanaian local dialect backed by elements of the traditional High-life. Ace music producer Hammer of The Last Two unveiled artistes including Obrafour, Tinny and Ex-doe who further popularized the Hiplife music genre respectively. Hiplife has since proliferated and spawned stars such as Reggie Rockstone, Sherifa Gunu, Ayigbe Edem, Samini and Sarkodie.
The video below explains the music of Ghana in a more visual context:
Here’s the Ghana National Anthem with lyrics included:
Make sure you tune in to the Special Delivery Show, every Monday 7-9pm to find out which country we will feature as our Spotlight Country of the week.
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